July 16, 2010

Running backs tops on offense




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Much like Kent State's defensive position group rankings, the offensive
rankings are top heavy. It's easy to pick the offense's top position
group, that's in the backfield with sixth-year senior Eugene Jarvis,
a two-time all-conference performer, back for the 2010 season after suffering
a season-ending injury in week 2 of his senior campaign in 2009.

Behind Jarvis there's plenty of talent and depth, making the running
back position an easy choice for the top spot in the offensive position group
rankings.


Beyond the running backs the rankings became much more difficult. There's
no shortage of talent in each position group. But depth, that's an issue.


Here's a look at Kent State's offensive position group rankings.




1. RUNNING
BACKS

Again, this was an easy choice. First, there's Jarvis, a first-team
all-Mid-American Conference performer in 2007 and a second-team selection
in 2008. In 2009 Jarvis
suffered a season-ending injury in week 2 at Boston College. The NCAA granted
Jarvis a sixth year of eligibility and if his spring practice performance
was any indication of things to come, Jarvis could have a big year.





A sixth year of eligibility for Eugene Jarvis is good
news for the Flashes.

Just the fourth player in Kent State history to eclipse the 3,000-yard rushing
mark, Jarvis needs just 564 yards to break Astron Whatley's school rushing
record (3,989). Jarvis is second among FBS active career rushing leaders heading
into the 2010 season.


Behind Jarvis resides plenty of talent and experience.


Second on the depth chart is junior Jacquise Terry, who rushed for
170 yards as a freshman in 2008 before being moved to wide receiver to start
the 2009 season. After Jarvis' injury Terry moved back to running back
and reeled off three straight 100-yard rushing efforts. He finished the year
with 649 rushing yards and four touchdowns in seven starts at the position.
Terry also is a threat catching the ball out of the backfield. In 2009 Terry
became just the fifth Academic All-American in KSU history.


Last fall as a freshman Dri Archer shined in fall camp, which earned
him a spot on the active roster. He continued to shine during the season as
he accounted for 743 all-purpose yards. He finished the year with 246 rushing
and 231 receiving yards. His first career touchdown was a 44-yard reception
against Iowa State. Archer was one of just nine true freshmen to earn a letter.


Rounding out Kent State's stable of running backs is senior Andre Flowers. Over the past three seasons Flowers has rushed for 778 yards
and was the Golden Flashes' offensive rookie of the year in 2007. A special
teams standout, Flowers provides valuable depth to the Golden Flashes' running
backs.




2. WIDE RECEIVERS

The emergence of Tyshon Goode, who in 2009 turned in the best performance
by a freshman wide receiver in school history, and the return of Kendrick Pressley give the Golden Flashes a solid 1-2 punch. Add in the talented
Sam Kirkland, who was one of the top performers this spring, and
Kent State has one of the top wide receiver corps in the Mid-American Conference.






Tyshon
Goode emerged in 2009 as Kent State's top freshman receiver in school
history.


Goode, an honorable mention freshman All-American selection by CollegeFootballNews.com,
set school freshman receiving records with 53 catches for 755 yards and five
scores. He finished ninth in the MAC in receiving yards per game (62.9) and
12th in receptions per game (4.4).


Pressley finished third on the team with 21 catches for 301 yards and scored
three touchdowns. He started 10 of the 12 games in which he appeared. Pressley
debuted with the Golden Flashes in 2008 after a late arrival to camp. An ankle
injury prematurely ended his freshman year.


Back in 2008 Kirkland started the year at defensive back. His speed and size
convinced the Golden Flashes' coaches to move him to wide receiver and
that move nearly paid quick dividends as Kirkland twice found himself wide
open deep down the field. While he didn't make the catch on either attempt
he showed the KSU coaches they had a big-time threat. Last fall Kirkland caught
18 passes for 154 yards and scored on an 86-yard reverse in a game against
Bowling Green. Kirkland was this spring's top offensive performer and
if he carries that momentum into the 2010 season the Golden Flashes could see
an increase in explosion plays.


The Golden Flashes' other returning receivers, Anthony Bowman,
Matt Hurdle, Leneric Muldrow and Chris Gordon, accounted
for 17 receptions for 212 yards. Also keep an eye out for redshirt freshman
Ed Cazenave, who was impressive during spring drills.




3. QUARTERBACKS

Kent State returns two starting quarterbacks. First there's redshirt
junior Giorgio Morgan, who started the 2009 season, then there's
sophomore Spencer Keith, who emerged after Morgan suffered an ankle
injury.






Spencer
Keith did more than hand the ball off in 2009. His 2,147 yards were
a new freshman record at Kent State.


Morgan, who as a freshman turned in a terrific performance against Central
Michigan when then starter Julian Edelman was injured, opened the 2009 campaign
as Kent State's starting quarterback. The then redshirt sophomore led
the Flashes to an 18-0 season opening win over Coastal Carolina, but it came
at a cost. Morgan severely injured his ankle, which was then aggravated the
next week at Boston College. Morgan started four of the six games he played
in during the 2009 season. He completed 36-of-72 passes for 279 yards. He didn't
throw a touchdown pass but did throw five interceptions.


Morgan's injury at Boston College opened the door for Keith, who threw
for over 10,000 yards in his high school career at Pulaski Academy in Little
Rock, Ark. Keith started six of the 10 games in which he played in 2010. He
completed 168-of-294 passes (57.1-percent) for 2,147 yards. He threw 14 touchdown
passes to 11 interceptions. His passing yards and touchdowns thrown both were
new school freshman records and both stand at fifth overall in school history.
Keith is the projected starter for the 2010 season.


Behind Keith and Morgan
is a pair of talented players with no experience. Redshirt sophomore Sal Battles has
spent two years in the Kent State program. He redshirted last season but
played on special teams in 2008. Cedric McCloud joined the program in the spring after spending a post-graduate
year at Central Carolina Sports Academy.




4. OFFENSIVE
LINE

This unit certainly has the talent to be ranked higher among its offensive
peers. What it lacks is the depth needed to ensure no loss of productivity
in the event of an injury.






Chris
Anzevino has been named to the Rimington Award watch list.


The starting offensive line, at least at the end of spring drills, consists
of a freshman, two sophomores and two juniors. The second unit is even younger
with three freshmen and two sophomores.


Offensive line starters have combined to start 57 games over the past two
seasons, so there's some experience up front. But, only one player on
the second unit saw action during the 2009 season. That's where the concern
is for the Kent State coaching staff.


Right tackle Pat Reedy missed spring drills with an injury, but he's
moving over to tight end and won't factor into the offensive line depth
chart. That leaves junior center Chris Anzevino, a Rimington Award
watch list member, as the unit's most experienced player. Anzevino has
started 24 straight games for the Golden Flashes.


During the spring freshman Tom Pizzurro bounced up and down between
starter and backup at right guard. He ended the spring as the projected starter.
A true freshman, Pizzurro must develop quickly if Kent State's offense
hopes to become consistent. On the other side it's junior Michael
Fay
, who has started 20 of the 21 games in which he has played over the
past two years.


The tackle spots will be filled by a pair of sophomores: Brian Winters,
who shined last season as a true freshman at right tackle, and redshirt sophomore
Kent Cleveland, who started one of the 11 games in which he appeared
last fall. This spring Winters, a starter in all 12 games last year, shifted
over to the left side leaving Cleveland as the starter at right tackle.


Finding depth is the key for this unit and the reason it is ranked dead last
among offensive position groups.






 








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